(Mass Appeal) – This delicious tomato soup, vibrantly scented with garlic and unexpectedly with a hint of bracing orange, is a snap to assemble and takes less than half an hour to simmer atop the stove. It can be prepared several days in advance and then reheated at serving time. Toasted baguette slices topped with Gorgonzola and a sprinkle of fresh rosemary can be served alongside or floating atop this delicious rustic soup.

INGREDIENTS:

3 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

2 tbsp minced garlic

Two 28-oz cans whole tomatoes, drained well and diced

3 1/2 to 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 tbsp dried basil

Scant 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, plus more for extra heat if needed

Kosher salt

2 small pinches of sugar

3/4 cup Half and Half

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano Reggiano

1 tsp grated orange zest

Gorgonzola and Rosemary Bruschette (recipe follows)

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat oil until hot. Add the onions and stir until they just start to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, 3 1/2 cups broth, basil, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sugar. Stir well to combine; bring mixture to a simmer. Lower heat and continue to simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Purée the soup in batches in a food processor, blender, or food mill, and return the soup to the pot. Or use an immersion blender to purée the soup in the pot. Stir in the Half and Half, Parmesan cheese, and orange zest and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the soup is hot, 3 to 4 minutes. If you think the soup is too thick, thin it with a little extra broth. Season the soup with salt if needed and, if you’d like more heat, add a small pinch of red pepper flakes. (Soup can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat, stirring often, over medium heat.)

3. To serve, ladle the soup into six soup bowls. Serve the Gorgonzola Bruschette alongside the soup or, if you prefer, float them on top of it.

Serves 6

Gorgonzola Bruschette

12 baguette slices, cut about 3/8-in-thick

Olive oil for brushing the bread slices

An 8-oz piece creamy Gorgonzola, such as Gorgonzola Dolce, softened slightly

1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

1. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Have ready a foil-lined baking sheet.

2. Brush both sides of the baguette slices generously with olive oil and place on the baking sheet. Bake slices until golden and just crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. (Slices can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Keep at room temperature.)

3. Spread each slice with some Gorgonzola and return to the oven until cheese has melted, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with a little chopped rosemary.